Exclusive: President Bill Clinton’s Kosovo war of 1999 was loved by neocons and liberal hawks the forerunner for Iraq, Libya, Syria and other conflicts this century but Kosovo’s political violence and lawlessness today underscore the grim consequences of those strategies even when they “succeed,” writes Jonathan Marshall.
By Jonathan Marshall
The insatiable appetite of America’s bipartisan foreign policy elites for military intervention, despite its record of creating failing states in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, traces back to the marriage of liberal and neoconservative interventionists during the Clinton administration’s 78-day bombing of Serbia to create the break-away state of Kosovo in 1999.
One scholar-advocate has called NATO’s campaign “The most important precedent supporting the legitimacy of unilateral humanitarian intervention.” Even Sen. Bernie Sanders was proud to support that use of American power, ostensibly “to prevent further genocide.”
But Kosovo, which is still not recognized as an independent state by nearly half of all UN members, and which still relies on 4,600 NATO troops to maintain order, is hardly a showcase for the benefits of military intervention. With an unemployment rate of 35 percent, Kosovo is wracked by persistent outbreaks of terrorism, crime, and political violence.
Following a series of violent street protests and wild disruptions of parliament, the leader of the radical nationalist party, VetÃ«vendosje, announced on Feb. 19, “This regime is now is in its final days. They will not last long.”
That day, members of VetÃ«vendosje set off tear gas cannisters in parliament and tussled with police in the latest of their many protests against an agreement reached by the government last summer to grant limited powers to the country’s Serbian minority, in return for Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo. Opposition lawmakers also rail against endemic corruption and the country’s under-performing economy.
Two days earlier, at least 15,000 Kosovars gathered in the central square of Pristina, the country’s capital, to demand the government’s resignation. In January, thousands of protesters clashed with police, hurling Molotov cocktails, setting a major government building and armored police cars on fire, and wounding 24 police officers.
“The aim of this protest was to overthrow the government with violence,” the government said in a statement. The U.S. ambassador chimed in, “Political violence threatens democracy and all that Kosovo has achieved since independence.”
This violence gets little attention from the American media in part because, unlike the Ukrainian demonstrators who overthrew their democratically elected government in 2014, Kosovo’s protesters are targeting a pro-Western government that eagerly seeks membership in the European Union.
But it’s no wonder that Kosovo’s political fabric is so rent by violent confrontations. The rump state was created by a violent secessionist movement led by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). That guerrilla band of Albanian nationalists was covertly backed by the German secret service to weaken Serbia. Its terrorist attacks on Serbian villages and government personnel in the mid-1990s prompted a brutal military crackdown by Serbia, followed by NATO’s decisive intervention in 1999.
During the fighting the KLA drove tens of thousands of ethnic Serbs from Kosovo as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign to promote independence for the majority Albanian population. It recruited Islamist militants, including followers of Osama Bin Laden, from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and other countries.
President Bill Clinton’s special envoy to the Balkans, Robert Gelbard, called the KLA “without any question, a terrorist group,” and a Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder added, “most of its activities were funded by drug running.”
None of that, however, stopped Washington from embracing the KLA’s cause against Serbia, a policy spearheaded by the liberal interventionist First Lady Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Without authorization from the United Nations, NATO began bombing Serbia in March 1999, killing some 500 civilians, demolishing billions of dollars’ worth of industrial plants, bridges, schools, libraries and hospitals, and even hitting the Chinese embassy. (“It should be lights out in Belgrade,” demanded New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. “Every power grid, water pipe, bridge, road and war-related factory has to be targeted. Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation.”)
Following Serbia’s capitulation, according to Human Rights Watch, “elements of the KLA” engaged in “widespread and systematic burning and looting of homes belonging to Serbs, Roma, and other minorities and the destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries. This destruction was combined with harassment and intimidation designed to force people from their homes and communities. By late-2000 more than 210,000 Serbs had fled the province . . . The desire for revenge provides a partial explanation, but there is also a clear political goal in many of these attacks: the removal from Kosovo of non-ethnic Albanians in order to better justify an independent state.”
Former KLA leaders, including its political head Hashim ThaÃ§i, went on to dominate the new Kosovo state. A 2010 report by the Council of Europe declared that ThaÃ§i, who was then Kosovo’s prime minister, headed a “mafia-like” group that smuggled drugs, guns and human organs on a grand scale through Eastern Europe. The report’s author accused the international community of turning a blind eye while ThaÃ§i’s group of KLA veterans engaged in “assassinations, detentions, beatings and interrogations” to maintain power and profit from their criminal activities.
Prime Minister ThaÃ§i and the Kosovo government strenuously denied the allegations and succeeded for years in resisting accountability. Their American friends were eager to put the past behind as well. In 2012, Madeleine Albright and a former Clinton special envoy to the Balkans bid to take control of the country’s state-owned telecommunications company despite widespread allegations of corruption, the attempted assassination of the telecommunications regulatory chief, and the murder of the state privatization agency’s chief.
No one seemed immune from corruption. A study of the European Union’s own legal mission to Kosovo suggested that its members may have taken bribes to drop investigations of senior Kosovo politicians for rampant criminal activity.
In 2014, a three-year E.U. investigation concluded that “senior officials of the former Kosovo Liberation Army” should be indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including “unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, other forms of inhumane treatment, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites.”
Under tough pressure from the United States and E.U., Kosovo’s parliament finally agreed last summer to permit a special court to prosecute former KLA leaders for war crimes. The court will begin operating this year in The Hague.
“The sad thing is that the United States and European countries knew 10 years ago that ThaÃ§i and his men were engaged in drug smuggling and creating a mafia state,” said one European ambassador last year. “The attitude was, ‘He’s a bastard, but he’s our bastard.’”
Whether delayed justice will clean up Kosovo’s “mafia state,” and whether belated granting of rights to the Serbian minority will ease or aggravate Kosovo’s explosive ethnic tensions, remain to be seen. One thing’s for sure: a great many people have died in the name of this great “humanitarian intervention,” and many more are still suffering for it. Kosovo is no Libya or Syria, but neither is it any kind of showcase for the benefits of U.S. armed intervention.
Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012). Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were “Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions”; “Neocons Want Regime Change in Iran”; “Saudi Cash Wins France’s Favor”; “The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings”; “Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Bluster”; “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess”; and “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.” ]
Both killing with “genocidal” intent and the use of “genocide” accusations as a tool for propaganda have precedents in the history of warfare and politics.
For months prior to the 1939 German invasion of Poland, German newspapers and politicians like Adolf Hitler had carried out a national and international propaganda campaign accusing Polish authorities of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans living in Poland.
After armed conflict erupted on 1 September 1939, statements that persecutions of ethnic Germans had occurred in Poland, especially in the city of Bydgoszcz, continued to appear in the Nazi press.
Bloody Sunday (German: Bromberger Blutsonntag; Polish: Krwawa niedziela) was a name given by Nazi propaganda officials to a sequence of events that took place in Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg), a Polish city with a sizable German minority, between 3 and 4 September 1939, immediately after the German invasion.
A contingent of the Polish Army was withdrawing through Bydgoszcz (Army Pomorze’s 9th, 15th, and 27th Infantry Division) when it was attacked by Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz, ethnic German paramilitary snipers from within the city. In the ensuing fight both sides suffered some casualties; captured German non-uniformed Selbstschutz insurgents were executed on the spot and some mob lynching was also reported.
The events were followed by German reprisals and mass executions of Polish civilians. In an act of retaliation for Bloody Sunday, a number of Polish civilians were executed by German military units of the Einsatzgruppen, Waffen SS, and Wehrmacht.
The term “Bloody Sunday” was created and supported by Nazi propaganda officials. An instruction issued to the press said, “… must show news on the barbarism of Poles in Bromberg. The expression ‘Bloody Sunday’ must enter as a permanent term in the dictionary and circumnavigate the globe. For that reason, this term must be continuously underlined.”
Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry heavily exploited the events to try and gain support in Germany for the invasion. Reports from the press and newsreels showed Polish violence against the German minority in Poland.
Goebbels had initially estimated that 5,800 Germans had been killed during Bloody Sunday but in 1940 increased the estimate to 58,000 which was subsequently published in the pamphlet “Polish Atrocities Against the German Minority in Poland” which convinced most Germans for the invasion and fueled more hatred against the Poles.
Hitler’s secret decree of 4 October 1939 stated that all crimes committed by the Germans between 1 September 1939 and 4 October 1939 were not to be prosecuted.
The German actions at Bydgoszcz were part of Operation Tannenberg (German: Unternehmen Tannenberg), the extermination campaign by Nazi Germany that was directed at the Polish nationals.
Two years before the 1939 German attack, the Secret State Police (Gestapo) prepared the Special Prosecution Book-Poland (Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen) proscription list.
Compiled with help from the German minority living in pre-war Poland, the list identified more than 61,000 members of Polish elite: activists, intelligentsia, scholars, actors, former officers, Polish nobility, Catholic priests, university professors, teachers, doctors, lawyers and even a prominent sportsman who had represented Poland in the Berlin Olympics in 1936.
People in the Special Prosecution Book were killed outright by Einsatzgruppen and Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz or sent to concentration camps to die. The German death squads including Einsatzkommando 16 and EK-Einmann fell under direct command of SS-SturmbannfÃ¼hrer Rudolf TrÃ¶ger, with overall command by Reinhard Heydrich.
The second edition of Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen in German and Polish was published in 1940 in occupied KrakÃ³w after the end of AB-Aktion (in German Ausserordentliche Befriedungsaktion).
About 2,000 activists of Polish minority organisations in Germany also were arrested and murdered.
Generalplan Ost, the German plan for colonization of the East, entailed the enslavement, expulsion, and/or extermination of most Slavic peoples in Europe, whom the Nazis viewed as racially inferior and non-Aryan.
The operational guidelines for Generalplan Ost, prepared in the years 1939â€“1942, were based on the Lebensraum policy designed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement, as well as being a fulfillment of the Drive towards the East (Drang nach Osten) ideology of German territorial expansion. As such, it was intended to be a part of the New Order in Europe.
The word “genocide” was not in use before 1944. Before this, in 1941, Winston Churchill described the mass killing of Russian prisoners of war and civilians as “a crime without a name”.
Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer, who had evaded capture by the Germans in Warsaw in 1939, first described the policies of systematic murder founded by the Nazis as “genocide” in 1944.
At the Legal Council of the League of Nations conference on international criminal law in Madrid in 1933, Lemkin had prepared an essay on the “Crime of Barbarity” as a crime against international law.
In 1944, in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, an extensive legal analysis of German rule in occupied countries, Lemkin coined the term “genocide” by combining Greek genos (Î³ÎÎ½Î¿Ï‚, ‘race, people’) and Latin caedere (‘to kill’) along with the definition of the term “genocide”.
Lemkin’s concept of “genocide” as an offense against international law was one of the legal bases of the Nuremberg Trials. In 1945 to 1946, he became an advisor to Supreme Court of the United States Justice and Nuremberg Trial chief counsel Robert H. Jackson.
Lemkin proposed a ban on “crimes against humanity” during the Paris Peace Conference of 1945, but his proposal was turned down.
Less well known is Lemkin’s 1953 claim that the Soviet famine of 1932â€“33, which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country, was the “classic example of Soviet genocide”.
Thus Lemkin himself was among the first to make the concept of “genocide” available for propaganda purposes.
You should do your homework. There are so many errors in this article it’s hard to read without feeling sorry for the writer. Haha!
I am so suprised by how brainwashed this whole group is. Why do you cite stupid sources so you can justify your beliefs? Think critically!!!
1MM albanians were forced to leave their motherland. Ten thousand people were killed. Thousands were raped, so KLA can prove a point???
You have to truly be brainwashed to think this way.
Trust me, I have lived it. I hope noeone ever does exerience what I have experienced.
Most internet forums are dominated nowdays by paid russian and chinese trolls that will trash anything western and rewrite history as a big conspiracy to suit their needs.
Most internet forums today are visited by trolls who insist that any information that fails to conform to official governmental and media narratives of events must be the work of “paid Russian and Chinese trolls that will trash anything western”.
In omnibus operibus tuis memorare novissima tua
Speaking critically, it was far from just Albanians who lived and suffered and died through that experience, so your experience doesn’t in any way invalidate the article or comments here.
Nothing justifies being indifferent when genocide is faced.
For all of her ‘experience’ and padded resumÃ©, are there any successes at all that Hillary can claim? She’s either plotted and executed hateful war crimes with horrendous (and unanticipated) consequences, or failed miserably in emergencies (as for example when that ‘3AM call’ came at 4pm- and I’m not talking about her dissembling to the press and public about some home-made video being the reason for the Benghazi attack, but about her failure to implement an interagency counter-terrorism plan specifically created for such emergencies, and her failure to authorize a relief team to save Chris Stevens and the CIA operatives under attack, presumably because she did not want the CIA Libya-Turkey jihadist pipeline revealed (as if everyone, other than the American public, did not know it).
To this reader it is one of a plethora of examples showing lack of character, lack of judgment, lack of loyalty to one’s people, and lack of any integrity in speaking or facing the truth. If anything it shows that she has, and will continue to commit the same crimes and make the same mistakes, again and again and again. Is that what the Democratic Party wants as its figurehead?
I suppose I better stop here, lest she or her supporters claim this is some right wing conspiracy from a self hating progressive wishing for a return of FDR and his New Deal.
For superb analyses of the Benghazi catastrophe, see those by Larry Johnson, who is the very State Department counter-terrorism expert who would understand the system and how it should have worked if it had been implemented properly, at the links below:
Larry also has some excellent posts on Hillary’s use of a private email server to send what was classified information (or should have been classified but was not- both intentionally and inadvertently out of sloppiness) and its significance.
Sorry for getting off message and not commenting on the article which is superb.
The breakup of Yugoslavia apart from the horrendous devastation it wreaked, and NATO’s gross violations of the UN Charter, was also an example of hybrid war that incorporated propaganda with the active complicity and participation of the media (including by our current Ambassador to the UN when she was a young journalist) that falsified relevant and material facts to demonize the Serbs and justify NATO’s air war. It is this technique that was so ‘successful’ in Yugoslavia, that has been used as a template in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and against Russia. (Though if one looks back 65 years, the same techniques were used in the Korean War whose history is little known or muddied, even to the present day.)
What a sad sight to see the comments sections being increasingly dominated by comments that are almost as long as the articles.
Instead of copying and pasting entire articles, as some posters are doing, it would be far more respectful to all parties – the writers of the articles get little recognition and no reward for the practice mentioned – if commenters posted a paragraph followed by a link.
1.Copying and posting entire articles – or lengthy passages from articles – shows a lack of respect to the writer of the featured article, as posters are riding on his back.
2.Copying and pasting lengthy passages from other articles can amount to a form of editing, by laying undue emphasis on sections the writer never intended. They can also distort the original sentiment behind the article.
2.The practice also shows a lack of respect the the writers being copied and pasted on another site, as their income may depend on soliciting subscriptions and donations.
3. Added to that, it shows a lack of respect towards the decision of the owners and editors of the sites being used, as it is part of their job is to choose the articles they see as being most relevant to their message and beliefs; not the reader’s.
4. It shows a lack of respect for the readers, who have to wade through inches of articles, masquerading as comments, they didn’t come to Consortiumnews to read.
A paragraph or two, followed by a link, would satisfy all parties and show the sort of mutual respect the internet needs to continue the valuable function it performs.
Having said that, I humbly apologize for the length of this rant.
It sounds to me like you have problem if someone posts the whole article, that is a lack of respect in your eyes (even if they put a link back to the original article). It also sounds like you have a problem if someone post a snippet from an article, since it “can amount to a form of editing”, that also being a lack of respect in your eyes. So I guess, if everyone was to be “respectful” then no one should ever post anything from anybody else’s articles and maybe we should all go back to newspapers. For me, I believe the opposite. I post an article from a certain author because I do highly respect their work and I believe it should be part of the argument and I post the link to their original article because I do want the reader to go to their website to see the original and hopefully discover more of their work. I believe that the articles that I have posted, with links, on the subject above only reinforce Mr. Parry’s work and ultimately it creates discussion, a wonder thing about the internet. I have also been on other sites or YouTube channels where I have posted snippets of Mr. Parry’s work, which you believe is a form of editing, with a link back to Consortium News which I believe has also brought more traffic to Consortium News. So for me, I don’t mind when someone posts part or a full article (with a link) and I think it is more respectful that it is done since I believe it enriches the discussion that we should be having especially when it comes to issues of war. So sorry that you feel that someone has wasted your time by posting articles or parts of articles, the only thing I can think of is to peruse the section first and if a comment is too long then don’t read it â€“Â that is what I do (if I am tired) and I am sure that I am not alone. Cheers.
First and foremost, thank you for your own investigations and articles. And thank you for all your contributions to the Consortium News comments section.
I have no problem with comments that are as long or longer than the featured article provided that they are â€œrelevantâ€ â€” obviously a matter very much in the eye of the beholder.
As far as â€œrespectâ€ for creative content and intellectual property is concerned, basic citation of the author, title of work, and relevant URL or publication information is vital.
If a site solicits subscriptions or donations, proper citation will enable interested readers to contribute.
No doubt you mean well. However, the remainder of your comment strikes me as a call for censorship masquerading as an appeal for â€œrespectâ€.
I am grateful to Robert Parry for helping me to recognize the unwisdom of such a call.
Having said that, Iâ€™m pretty confident that the internet will continue to function.
By the way, Bryan, thanks for highlighting Robert Fisk’s reporting from Aleppo.
I have a question about a remark you made on your blog.
The language of your blog remark about ErdoÄŸan’s “resolve to drag NATO into a war” https://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/aleppo-the-corporate-media-credibility-gap/ suggests to me that you believe:
â€¢ NATO is being dragged into a war and
â€¢ ErdoÄŸan is the one who is dragging NATO into a war
Is this an accurate description of your view and, if so, on what basis do you make the assertion?
I do not wish to place undue emphasis, but we are talking about a war and your language seems unequivocal on this point.
February 22, 2016 at 5:34 am
What a sad sight to see the comments sections being increasingly dominated by comments that are almost as long as the articles.
for all non -readers,
look at the picture
recognize the real… .
excerpts from a distorted (forgotten) history
The Rational Destruction of Yugoslavia
In 1999, the U.S. national security state â€” which has been involved throughout the world in subversion, sabotage, terrorism, torture, drug trafficking, and death squads â€” launched round-the-clock aerial attacks against Yugoslavia for 78 days, dropping 20,000 tons of bombs and killing thousands of women, children, and men. All this was done out of humanitarian concern for Albanians in Kosovo. Or so we were asked to believe. In the span of a few months, President Clinton bombed four countries: Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq repeatedly, and Yugoslavia massively. At the same time, the U.S. was involved in proxy wars in Angola, Mexico (Chiapas), Colombia, East Timor, and various other places. And U.S. forces are deployed on every continent and ocean, with some 300 major overseas support bases â€” all in the name of peace, democracy, national security, and humanitarianism.
While showing themselves ready and willing to bomb Yugoslavia on behalf of an ostensibly oppressed minority in Kosovo, U.S. leaders have made no moves against the Czech Republic for its mistreatment of the Romany people (gypsies), or Britain for oppressing the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland, or the Hutu for the mass murder of a half million Tutsi in Rwanda â€” not to mention the French who were complicit in that massacre. Nor have U.S. leaders considered launching â€œhumanitarian bombingsâ€ against the Turkish people for what their leaders have done to the Kurds, or the Indonesian people because their generals killed over 200,000 East Timorese and were continuing such slaughter through the summer of 1999, or the Guatemalans for the Guatemalan militaryâ€™s systematic extermination of tens of thousands of Mayan villagers. In such cases, U.S. leaders not only tolerated such atrocities but were actively complicit with the perpetrators â€” who usually happened to be faithful client-state allies dedicated to helping Washington make the world safe for the Fortune 500.
Why then did U.S. leaders wage an unrestrainedly murderous assault upon Yugoslavia?
The Third Worldization of Yugoslavia
Divide and Conquer
One of the great deceptions, notes Joan Phillips, is that â€œthose who are mainly responsible for the bloodshed in Yugoslavia â€” not the Serbs, Croats or Muslims, but the Western powers â€” are depicted as saviors.â€4 While pretending to work for harmony, U.S. leaders supported the most divisive, reactionary forces from Croatia to Kosovo.
In Croatia, the Westâ€™s man-of-the-hour was Franjo Tudjman, who claimed in a book he authored in 1989, that â€œthe establishment of Hitler’s new European order can be justified by the need to be rid of the Jews,â€ and that only 900,000 Jews, not six million, were killed in the Holocaust. Tudjmanâ€™s government adopted the fascist Ustasha checkered flag and anthem.5 Tudjman presided over the forced evacuation of over half a million Serbs from Croatia between 1991 and 1995, replete with rapes and summary executions.6 This included the 200,000 from Krajina in 1995, whose expulsion was facilitated by attacks from NATO war planes and missiles. Needless to say, U.S. leaders did nothing to stop and much to assist these atrocities, while the U.S. media looked the other way. Tudjman and his cronies now reside in obscene wealth while the people of Croatia are suffering the afflictions of the free market paradise. Tight controls have been imposed on Croatian media, and anyone who criticizes President Tudjmanâ€™s government risks incarceration. Yet the White House hails Croatia as a new democracy.
Demonizing the Serbs
The propaganda campaign to demonize the Serbs fits the larger policy of the Western powers. The Serbs were targeted for demonization because they were the largest nationality and the one most opposed to the breakup of Yugoslavia. None other than Charles Boyd, former deputy commander of the U.S. European command, commented on it in 1994: â€œThe popular image of this war in Bosnia is one of unrelenting Serb expansionism. Much of what the Croatians call â€˜the occupied territoriesâ€™ is land that has been held by Serbs for more that three centuries. The same is true of most Serb land in Bosnia. . . . In short the Serbs were not trying to conquer new territory, but merely to hold onto what was already theirs.â€ While U.S. leaders claim they want peace, Boyd concludes, they have encouraged a deepening of the war.11
More Atrocity Stories
Up until the bombings began in March 1999, the conflict in Kosovo had taken 2000 lives altogether from both sides, according to Kosovo Albanian sources. Yugoslavian sources had put the figure at 800. In either case, such casualties reveal a limited insurgency, not genocide. The forced expulsion policy began after the NATO bombings, with thousands being uprooted by Serb forces mostly in areas where the KLA was operating or was suspected of operating. In addition, if the unconfirmed reports by the ethnic Albanian refugees can be believed, there was much plundering and instances of summary execution by Serbian paramilitary forces â€” who were unleashed after the NATO bombing started.
We should keep in mind that tens of thousands fled Kosovo because of the bombings, or because the province was the scene of sustained ground fighting between Yugoslav forces and the KLA, or because they were just afraid and hungry. An Albanian woman crossing into Macedonia was eagerly asked by a news crew if she had been forced out by Serb police. She responded: â€œThere were no Serbs. We were frightened of the [NATO] bombs.â€21 During the bombings, an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 Serbian residents of Kosovo took flight (mostly north but some to the south), as did thousands of Roma and other non-Albanian ethnic groups.22 Were these people ethnically cleansing themselves? Or were they not fleeing the bombing and the ground war?
Ethnic Enmity and U.S. â€œDiplomacyâ€
Some people argue that nationalism, not class, is the real motor force behind the Yugoslav conflict. This presumes that class and ethnicity are mutually exclusive forces. In fact, ethnic enmity can be enlisted to serve class interests, as the CIA tried to do with indigenous peoples in Indochina and Nicaragua â€” and more recently in Bosnia.34
When different national groups are living together with some measure of social and material security, they tend to get along. There is intermingling and even intermarriage. But when the economy goes into a tailspin, thanks to sanctions and IMF destabilization, then it becomes easier to induce internecine conflicts and social discombobulation. In order to hasten that process in Yugoslavia, the Western powers provided the most retrograde separatist elements with every advantage in money, organization, propaganda, arms, hired thugs, and the full might of the U.S. national security state at their backs. Once more the Balkans are to be balkanized.
While professing to having been discomforted by the aerial destruction of Yugoslavia, many liberals and progressives were convinced that â€œthis timeâ€ the U.S. national security state was really fighting the good fight. â€œYes, the bombings donâ€™t work. The bombings are stupid!â€ they said at the time, â€œbut we have to do something.â€ In fact, the bombings were other than stupid: they were profoundly immoral. And in fact they did work; they destroyed much of what was left of Yugoslavia, turning it into a privatized, deindustrialized, recolonized, beggar-poor country of cheap labor, defenseless against capital penetration, so battered that it will never rise again, so shattered that it will never reunite, not even as a viable bourgeois country.
When the productive social capital of any part of the world is obliterated, the potential value of private capital elsewhere is enhanced â€” especially when the crisis faced today by western capitalism is one of overcapacity. Every agricultural base destroyed by western aerial attacks (as in Iraq) or by NAFTA and GATT (as in Mexico and elsewhere), diminishes the potential competition and increases the market opportunities for multinational corporate agribusiness. To destroy publicly-run Yugoslav factories that produced auto parts, appliances, or fertilizer â€” or a publicly financed Sudanese plant that produced pharmaceuticals at prices substantially below their western competitors â€” is to enhance the investment value of western producers. And every television or radio station closed down by NATO troops or blown up by NATO bombs extends the monopolizing dominance of the western media cartels. The aerial destruction of Yugoslavia’s social capital served that purpose.
We have yet to understand the full effect of NATOâ€™s aggression. Serbia is one of the greatest sources of underground waters in Europe, and the contamination from U.S. depleted uranium and other explosives is being felt in the whole surrounding area all the way to the Black Sea. In Pancevo alone, huge amounts of ammonia were released into the air when NATO bombed the fertilizer factory. In that same city, a petrochemical plant was bombed seven times. After 20,000 tons of crude oil were burnt up in only one bombardment of an oil refinery, a massive cloud of smoke hung in the air for ten days. Some 1,400 tons of ethylene dichloride spilled into the Danube, the source of drinking water for ten million people. Meanwhile, concentrations of vinyl chloride were released into the atmosphere at more than 10,000 times the permitted level. In some areas, people have broken out in red blotches and blisters, and health officials predict sharp increases in cancer rates in the years ahead.35
National parks and reservations that make Yugoslavia among thirteen of the world’s richest bio-diversity countries were bombed. The depleted uranium missiles that NATO used through many parts of the country have a half-life of 4.5 billion years.36 It is the same depleted uranium that now delivers cancer, birth defects, and premature death upon the people of Iraq. In Novi Sad, I was told that crops were dying because of the contamination. And power transformers could not be repaired because U.N. sanctions prohibited the importation of replacement parts. The people I spoke to were facing famine and cold in the winter ahead.
With words that might make us question his humanity, the NATO commander, U.S. General Wesley Clark boasted that the aim of the air war was to â€œdemolish, destroy, devastate, degrade, and ultimately eliminate the essential infrastructureâ€ of Yugoslavia. Even if Serbian atrocities had been committed, and I have no doubt that some were, where is the sense of proportionality? Paramilitary killings in Kosovo (which occurred mostly after the aerial war began) are no justification for bombing fifteen cities in hundreds of around-the-clock raids for over two months, spewing hundreds of thousands of tons of highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals into the water, air, and soil, killing thousands of Serbs, Albanians, Roma, Turks, and others, and destroying bridges, residential areas, and over two hundred hospitals, clinics, schools, and churches, along with the productive capital of an entire nation.
In mid-September 1999, the investigative journalist Diana Johnstone emailed associates in the U.S. that former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, who had backed Tudjmanâ€™s â€œoperation stormâ€ that drove 200,000 Serbians (mostly farming families) out of the Krajina region of Croatia four years ago, was recently in Montenegro, chiding Serbian opposition politicians for their reluctance to plunge Yugoslavia into civil war. Such a war would be brief, he assured them, and would â€œsolve all your problems.â€ Another strategy under consideration by U.S. leaders, heard recently in Yugoslavia, is to turn over the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina to Hungary. Vojvodina has some twenty-six nationalities including several hundred thousand persons of Hungarian descent who, on the whole show no signs of wanting to secede, and who certainly are better treated than the larger Hungarian minorities in Rumania and Slovakia. Still, a recent $100 million appropriation from the U.S. Congress fuels separatist activity in what remains of Yugoslavia â€” at least until Serbia gets a government sufficiently pleasing to the free-market globalists in the West. Johnstone concludes: â€œWith their electric power stations ruined and factories destroyed by NATO bombing, isolated, sanctioned and treated as pariahs by the West, Serbs have the choice between freezing honorably in a homeland plunged into destitution, or following the â€˜friendly adviceâ€™ of the same people who have methodically destroyed their country. As the choice is unlikely to be unanimous one way or the other, civil war and further destruction of the country are probable.â€
Michael Parenti is the author of To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia, Contrary Notions, Against Empire, and The Assassination of Julius Caesar.
I can’t tell half the time – and who has so much time? – who comments are directed at and when, exactly, a comment is actually the commenter’s presentation of others’ material. When I quote from other sources, it’s crystal clear. I use quotation (or other enclosing) marks and indicate in plain English that this or that is from so and so. I tired of following such lengthy, faulty discussion/reportage. I have no issues with long per se. But a long session of torture is another matter.
One other observation I would make is that in the responses I did read, I didn’t encounter any awareness by those commenters that the West wasn’t just drawn into Yugoslavia by manipulators like the KLA, but had targetted Yugoslavia for destruction and re-creation as a region of neoliberal states, the standard regime change operation in other words. Yugoslavia, and Serbia in particular, were far too ‘socialist’ in character for the neoliberal/neocon rulers of the world to not feel that here was a ‘problem’ needing their (lawless) attention. (Michel Chossudovsky covers it well at Global Research.) Now, That may have come up, but I missed it. As I said, I just couldn’t continue reading, reading, reading, while carrying so many questions in my head (such as: Is this the commenter or someone else? What’s the purpose?) about what I was reading.
The US intervention in Kosovo will go down in history as one of the most successful.
Had the US not intervened, we would certainly have a second Palestine in Macedonia and Northern Albania as there were more than 1 million kosovar refuges expelled by the murderous regime of Milosevic and living in camps there.
There is no doubt, informed english speaking commenters making the apology of Slobo’s terror on this platform are themselves (or no better than) war criminals / rapists with blood in their hands that managed to successfully leave Serbia in time and gain political asylum in countries like Australia New Zealand and know are salivating again for the war to return back to the balkans and bring some excitement to their failed miserable lives. You aint fooling anyone for things that happened less than 20 years ago.
Once a war criminal, always a war criminal. Once a rapist, always a rapist.
The idea that 15 years ago adult serbs descended in Kosovo killing males indiscriminately and raping / gang raping innocent woman and girls makes me throw up and sick to my bone.
I would be ashamed to be Serb and spend my days praying for my/their sins and asking the Lord for forgiveness and redemption.
How low can the human race go? Raping little young girls in the 20th century.
Let that abominable crime sink in for a moment in your mind, and try to imagine that happening to your daughter or people you know.
Know the truth, serbs committed the most appalling savage crimes in the Balkans.
i totally understand your point of view. and that is because i realized you’r IQ is nn the negative side of zero.
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, proposes that the mass communication media of the U.S. â€œare effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion”, by means of the propaganda model of communication.
Herman has written about the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in articles such as “The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre” (Znet 2005). Herman writes “the ‘Srebrenica massacre’ is the greatest triumph of propaganda to emerge from the Balkan wars… the link of this propaganda triumph to truth and justice is non-existent”.
In no way denying that a massacre took place in Srebrenica in 1995, Herman has criticized the validity of the term “genocide” in the case of Srebrenica, pointing out inconsistencies for the case of organized extermination such as the Bosnian Serb Army bussing of Muslim woman and children out of Srebrenica.
Herman has questioned certain findings of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice.
In a 2013 interview https://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/edward-herman-interview-srebrenica-as-tremendous-propaganda-trial/ Herman discussed the Srebrenica massacre
“another important fact about the Srebrenica massacre is that all those killings of Serbs took place coming out of an area that was supposed to be a ‘safe haven’. Srebrenica was a safe place, a safe haven. It was supposed to be demilitarized, but it never was.
“So the Bosnian Muslim soldiers would come out to Srebrenica and they would kill Serb civilians. This is all completely ignored in the Western media. Itâ€™s as if the Serbs came in July and started to kill arbitrarily.
“In fact, the U.N. military in that area, a French official named Phillippe Morillon [French General, Commander of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia 1992-1993], was asked by the Yugoslav tribunal, ‘Why the Serbs did it?’
“He said heâ€™s absolutely convinced that they did it because of what the commander of Srebrenicaâ€™s Bosnian Muslims did to the Serbs before July 1995.
“This is the UN Army head, but you wonâ€™t see that in the Western press!
“In other words, the first massacre is what led to the lesser second massacre of namely military aged people.”
You seem to be on a roll.
Try googling Serbia Wars and next suggestion on line is “crimes”.
We also have our holocaust deniers, some people will live in denial for ever. Trying to justify what the International War Crimes has found to be a genocide committed by the Serbs, is a disgrace.
The problem is that Serbia never came to terms with their war crimes and still think they are a victim rather than the perpetrator. The country is run still today by die hard nationalist that were Milosevic puppets during the war, Peace in the Balkans will come when Serbia apologizes to her neighbors for the appalling crimes its army and police forces committed against defenceless and innocent civilians.
From the â€‰Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts :
“…All parties involved in the conflict have committed Â«grave breachesÂ» of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of international humanitarian law. These violations include the killing of civilians, rape torture, and the deliberate destruction of civilian property, including cultural and religious property, such as churches and mosques. But, there are significant qualitative differences. Most of the violations were committed by Serbs against Bosnian Muslims.…”
You, memento mori, seem to be on quite a roll with the shrill political rhetoric and “holocaust deniers” accusations.
The Commission of Experts report delivered to the UN Security Council in 1994 was a political document, not a finding of “genocide”. No one disputes that crimes were committed by the warring factions in the former Yugoslavia.
Three different international courts have “resolved” that “genocide” occurred in Bosnia â€“ the International Court of Justice (ICJ, established in 1945 bu the United Nations Charter), and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR, established in 1959), and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY, established in 1993).
However, the specific decisions of the three courts have differed significantly.
The definition of “genocide” in international law was established by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260.
Article 2 of the CPPCG defines “genocide” as
“…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
Article 3 defines the crimes that can be punished under the CPPCG:
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.
The major international court decisions about the armed conflict in Bosnia invoke the CPPCG Article II requirement that the perpetrator have a specific state of mind: the “intent to destroy” a group must be the only reasonable inference based on the facts and circumstances.
While genocidal intent is not the only criterion upon which to make a decision of genocide, it was the most highly politicized factor in all three international court proceedings.
In order to resolve that a party has the intent to commit “genocide”, a court must take into account the general context of the crime, such as: preparation of other culpable acts systematically and exclusively directed against the same group; scale of atrocities committed; weapons employed; the extent of bodily injury; and/or the repetition of destructive and discriminatory acts.
However, given the facts and circumstances of the armed conflict in Bosnia where destructive and discriminatory acts such as ethnic cleansing were perpetrated with intent by all parties, the findings of major international courts have been rightly criticized, particularly with regard to decisions on the war crimes that took place in Srebrenica.
The IJC, in Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia and Montenegro  (also called the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide) resolved that “genocide” in Bosnia occurred only in Srebrenica in 1995. The judges specifically stated that “genocide” did not occur at other times or places in Bosnia.
The IJC specifically affirmed that Serbia had not committed genocide; Serbia had not conspired to commit “genocide”, nor incited the commission of “genocide”; Serbia has not been complicit in “genocide”. The IJC did find that Serbia had violated the obligation to prevent the Srebrenica “genocide” and that Serbia has violated its obligations under the Genocide Convention by having failed to transfer Ratko MladiÄ‡ to the ICTY.
The ECHR, in the JorgiÄ‡ v. Germany , upheld a 1997 German court decision that “genocide” had occurred outside of Srebrenica â€“ in northern Bosnia in 1992. The ECHR highlighted that the German court’s ruling, based upon German domestic law, had interpreted the crime of “genocide” more broadly than and in a manner since rejected by international courts. Under the wider definition that the German judiciary upheld, the ethnic cleansing carried out by JorgiÄ‡ was a “genocide”.
The ICTY prosecutors attempted unsuccessfully to prosecute Bosnian Serbs for “genocide” in areas other than Srebrenica. The judges at the ICTY said that “genocide” had not been proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
Three international courts found that Serbs committed genocide as you admit it, yet you still think genocide didn’t occur!
I would like to smoke the same thing as you, got to be pretty strong stuff…
Your views are typical of Balkan people, the only thing that matters is “their own” truth. Independent opinion is valid only if it is in their favor.
That is why Balkans are the anus of EU and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Thanks for pointing out that the entire bloody conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and the legal decisions that ensued, were instigated to enforce planned European Union enlargement in the Balkans.
I agree that war crimes were perpetrated by all the warring factions in the former Yugoslavia. I do not agree that these crimes, however horrific, qualified as “genocide”.
I do agree that there was tremendous political pressure on the courts to establish a finding of “genocide” in the case of Srebrenica.
Given your contempt for “Balkan people”, memento mori, no doubt you will continue blowing smoke up your own anus for the foreseeable future.
Thanks Abe and others for your knowledge and insight on these tragic wars under Clinton in the 90’s. I was only listening to main-stream news then. Your narrative certainly fits with what I’ve heard since about sex trafficking in these eastern states as well as the cheap labor advantages. Yes, we are supposed to believe that socialism is the same as communism–both evil. While the truth is that capitalism is the pure evil because NOTHING matters but profit.
The Srebrenica Research Group, a self-financed group of journalists and academic researchers, reviewed evidence related to the capture of Srebrenica and how the actual facts compare with widely publicized portrayal of events.
The Srebrenica Research Group study made comparisons with other military operations such as Operation Flash and Operation Storm against the UN Protected Serb enclaves in Croatia. The study also traced how the official portrayal of events affected the outcome of the conflict in Bosnia, the actions of the war crimes tribunal and the public perception of Serbia and Republika Srpska.
In Srebrenica And the Politics of War Crimes (2005), the study concluded that “The contention that as many as 8,000 Muslims were killed has no basis in available evidence and is essentially a political construct”.
Phillip Corwin, former UN Civilian Affairs Coordinator in Bosnia, was an advisor and contributor to the work of the Srebrenica Research Group. Corwin said, “What happened in Srebrenica was not a single large massacre of Muslims by Serbs, but rather a series of very bloody attacks and counterattacks over a three-year period.”
The description of Srebrenica as a genocidal massacre, and its propagandist comparison with the Nazi Holocaust in Europe, has been disputed by scholars.
Israeli Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer described Srebrenica as “an act of mass murder, not a genocide” and stated that he could see no evidence that Serb forces intended, in whole or in part, to exterminate the Bosniaks.
The director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Israel, Efraim Zuroff, also disagrees that Serb forces had genocidal intent. He explained: “As far as I know, what happened [in Srebrenica] does not [fit] the description or the definition of genocide. I think the decision to call it genocide was made for political reasons. Obviously a tragedy occurred, innocent people lost their lives and their memory should be preserved.” Zuroff also called attempts to equate Srebrenica to the Holocaust “horrible” and “absurd”, saying: “I wish the Nazis moved aside Jewish women and children before their bloody rampage, instead of murdering them, but that, as we know, did not happen.”
The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics (2011)
From the Foreword by Phillip Corwin (excerpt):
On July 11, 1995, the town of Srebrenica fell to the Bosnian Serb army. At the time, I was the highest ranking United Nations civilian official in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In my book, Dubious Mandate, I made some comments on that tragedy. Beyond that, I decried the distortions of the international press in their reporting, not only on that event, but on the wars in Yugoslavia (1992-95) in general. I expressed the wish that there could have been, and must be, some balance in telling the story of what actually happened in Srebrenica and in all of former Yugoslavia, if we are to learn from our experience.
This book by the Srebrenica Research Group, The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, answers that call. It presents an alternative and well-documented assessment of the tragedy of Srebrenica, and of the suffering of all the constituent peoples of former Yugoslavia. It is an invaluable document.
Of course, there will be those who will disagree with the authorsâ€™ perspective. But if we are to open a discussion that has been closed to all but the faithful, if we are to prevent similar tragedies from occurring again, then we must take seriously the accounts put forward by the bright and discerning contributors to this book. No honest reader can doubt the credentials of these authors. And no honest reader should doubt the importance of what they have to say.
From an interview with former CIA agent Robert Baer:
“We all know of Srebrenica, can you say about it?
Yes! In 1992 I was in Bosnia again, but this time we were supposed to train military units to represent Bosnia, a new state that had just declared independence. Srebrenica is an exaggerated story and unfortunately many people are being manipulated. The number of victims is the same as the number of Serbs and others killed but Srebrenica is political marketing. My boss, who was formerly a US Senator, stressed repeatedly that some kind of scam would go down in Bosnia. A month before the alleged genocide in Srebrenica, he told me that the town would be headline news around the world and ordered us to call the media. When I asked why, he said youâ€™ll see. The new Bosnian army got the order to attack homes and civilians. These were of course citizens of Srebrenica. At the same moment, the Serbs attacked from the other side. Probably someone had paid to incite them!
Then who is guilty of genocide in Srebrenica?
Srebrenica should be blamed on Bosnians, Serbs and Americans â€“ that is us! But in fact everything has been blamed on the Serbs. Unfortunately, many of the victims buried as Muslims were Serbs and other nationalities. A few years ago a friend of mine, a former CIA agent and now at the IMF, said that Srebrenica is the product of agreement between the US government and politicians in Bosnia. The town of Srebrenica was sacrificed to give America a motive to attack the Serbs for their alleged crimes.”
Don’t forget Yugoslavia
14 August 2008
The secrets of the crushing of Yugoslavia are emerging, telling us more about how the modern world is policed. The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, this year published her memoir The Hunt: Me and War Criminals. Largely ignored in Britain, the book reveals unpalatable truths about the west’s intervention in Kosovo, which has echoes in the Caucasus.
The tribunal was set up and bankrolled principally by the United States. Del Ponte’s role was to investigate the crimes committed as Yugoslavia was dismembered in the 1990s. She insisted that this include Nato’s 78-day bombing of Serbia and Kosovo in 1999, which killed hundreds of people in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and tele vision studios, and destroyed economic infrastructure. “If I am not willing to [prosecute Nato personnel],” said Del Ponte, “I must give up my mission.” It was a sham. Under pressure from Washington and London, an investigation into Nato war crimes was scrapped.
Readers will recall that the justification for the Nato bombing was that the Serbs were committing “genocide” in the secessionist province of Kosovo against ethnic Albanians. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, announced that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59” may have been murdered. Tony Blair invoked the Holocaust and “the spirit of the Second World War”. The west’s heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose murderous record was set aside. The British foreign secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.
With the Nato bombing over, international teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume the “holocaust”. The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines”. A year later, Del Ponte’s tribunal announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide in Kosovo. The “holocaust” was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.
That was not all, says Del Ponte in her book: the KLA kidnapped hundreds of Serbs and transported them to Albania, where their kidneys and other body parts were removed; these were then sold for transplant in other countries. She also says there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the Kosovar Albanians for war crimes, but the investigation “was nipped in the bud” so that the tribunal’s focus would be on “crimes committed by Serbia”. She says the Hague judges were terrified of the Kosovar Albanians – the very people in whose name Nato had attacked Serbia.
Indeed, even as Blair the war leader was on a triumphant tour of “liberated” Kosovo, the KLA was ethnically cleansing more than 200,000 Serbs and Roma from the province. Last February the “international community”, led by the US, recognised Kosovo, which has no formal economy and is run, in effect, by criminal gangs that traffic in drugs, contraband and women. But it has one valuable asset: the US military base Camp Bondsteel, described by the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner as “a smaller version of Guantanamo”. Del Ponte, a Swiss diplomat, has been told by her own government to stop promoting her book.
Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent and multi-ethnic, if imperfect, federation that stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to dominate its “natural market” in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991, a secret deal had been struck; Germany recognised Croatia, and Yugoslavia was doomed. In Washington, the US ensured that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans and the defunct Nato was reinvented as an enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo “peace” conference in France, the Serbs were told to accept occupation by Nato forces and a market economy, or be bombed into submission. It was the perfect precursor to the bloodbaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I quit reading your comment once you started writing about the well known Serb propaganda and outrageous lies of organ trafficking that has been debunked several time as totally nonsense with no other intention then trying to vilify the victims, so your own Serb horrendous crimes can look softer.
There is no evidence whatsoever of such organ trafficking, read the investigative article below.
Vice News: “Kosovo Leaders Have Been Accused of Killing and Harvesting Organs” (July 30, 2014):
Americans can learn some lessons from the findings of a special European Union prosecutor who believes Kosovoâ€™s ethnic Albanian leaders killed Serbs and others in the late 1990s in order to harvest and sell their organs.
On Tuesday, Clint Williamson â€” an American diplomat appointed EU prosecutor in 2011 to investigate crimes against humanity in Kosovo â€” released a scathing statement that accused the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) of murdering a handful of people and then trafficking their kidneys, livers, and other body parts. KLA leaders now run the tiny Balkan countryâ€™s government.
â€œIf even one person was subjected to such a horrific practice, and we believe a small number were, that is a terrible tragedy and the fact that it occurred on a limited scale does not diminish the savagery of such a crime,â€ Williamson said in the statement.
Williamson determined that KLA fighters tortured and killed around 10 Serbian and Albanian Kosovar prisoners in secret camps in northern Albania, removed their organs, and sold the parts abroad for transplantation.
The KLA also murdered, kidnapped, and detained people illegally, and in general oversaw a reign of terror against its non-Albanian and Albanian opponents after the group won Kosovoâ€™s independence from Serbia in 1999.
The important thing for Americans to recall here is that the KLA achieved victory with the help of United States and NATO bombers attacking Serbian forces.
At the time, President Bill Clinton portrayed the KLA as freedom fighters challenging Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic â€” a genocidal monster who died in a Hague prison cell in 2006. A few years ago, grateful Kosovars erected a bronze statue of Clinton in downtown Pristina, their capital.
But now, it turns out, members of the KLA were probably monsters, too.
â€œOur separatists are always good guys,â€ said Alan Kuperman, a public affairs professor at the University of Texas who has written about the moral hazards of intervening militarily for humanitarian purposes, speaking to VICE News. â€œNeither side was the good guy or the bad guy in this conflict in Kosovo. The way the story was portrayed in the 90s was always a caricature.â€
The overlap with the US position on Russiaâ€™s involvement in Ukraine is troubling, said Kuperman.
â€œWe condemn these separatists in Ukraine because they shot down a civilian plane,â€ he said. â€œThey are evil, and Russia is bad for supporting them. But our separatists in Kosovo were trafficking in humans, in drugs, and allegedly in organ parts. But weâ€™re not bad for supporting them. Thereâ€™s a real double standard or hypocrisy.â€
Serbia, human rights advocates, and EU and NATO officials have long alleged that the KLA operated like a mafia after independence, using intimidation and violence to consolidate power. And when he was fighting with the KLA, current Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was known as â€œThe Snake.â€
â€œThere is no doubt that in Kosovo there was widespread, systematic, and ethnically motivated persecution of the Serbian and non-Albanian population,â€ said Marko Djuric, director of the Serbian agency that oversees Kosovo, in a statement this week. â€œThat is a truth that remains registered in the tragic history of this region.â€
Serbia does not yet recognize Kosovoâ€™s independence. It even operates its own mail system and other government agencies clandestinely in the country.
Williamson said heâ€™d like to indict unspecified Kosovo leaders, but he canâ€™t file charges until Kosovo establishes a special court to hear them. A statement by the Kosovo government said the special court will soon be up and running.
â€œThis is the best evidence that Kosovo is a state of law and that it will continue to take all necessary steps in cooperation with international partners in this process,â€ the statement said.
But Williamson will need to convince Kosovar witnesses to testify against their leaders in order to make the charges stick. In a mafia state, that wonâ€™t be easy.
â€œAs long as a few powerful people continue to thwart investigations into their own criminality, the people of Kosovo as a whole pay the price as this leaves a dark cloud over the country,â€ Williamson said.
I dont see and proof or evidence on your drivel other than allegations. No alleged crime has been more investigated than the supposed “organ trafficking” and the evidence so far is “ZERO”. The new yorker article above had the best summary of the situation, and so far this is nothing but Serb propaganda, the thinking behind being that if you repeat a lie thousand times, people will start believing it.
Any sane person with some knowledge of organ transplants and Kosovo woulf know it is a total lie. Organ transplanting is a highly sophisticated and advanced procedure that for it to take place in Kosovo where there is no electricity and running water most of the time, it is an absurdity.
Well in the first article, by the award winning journalist John Pilger, the assertions are made by Carla Del Ponte who works or worked for the UN. Carla Del Ponte was also one of the ones that was on the ground for the UN in Syria when chemical weapons were used (she believed that it was most likely the “rebels” that used them). VICE News points to an American diplomat made EU prosecutor making the accusation against the KLA. Then lastly we have an excerpt from Mr. Robert Parry himself, of Consortium News and another award winning journalist, who made the assertion. So you can be angry about it and point to the “New Yorker” as a credible source but it seems that there are more than a few award winning journalists along with UN sources that are making the claim.
Consortium News: “Which Side of the â€˜War on Terrorâ€™?” (October 9, 2013):
Kosovo, 1998-99: Kosovo, overwhelmingly Muslim, was a province of Serbia, the main republic of the former Yugoslavia. In 1998, Kosovo separatists â€“ The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) â€“ began an armed conflict with Belgrade to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against the Serbs. [RT TV (Moscow), May 4, 2012]
However, when U.S.-NATO forces began military action against the Serbs the KLA was taken off the U.S. terrorist list, it â€œreceived official US-NATO arms and training supportâ€ [Wall Street Journal, Nov. 1, 2001], and the 1999 U.S.-NATO bombing campaign eventually focused on driving Serbian forces from Kosovo.
In 2008 Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia, an independence so illegitimate and artificial that the majority of the worldâ€™s nations still have not recognized it. But the United States was the first to do so, the very next day, thus affirming the unilateral declaration of independence of a part of another countryâ€™s territory.
The KLA have been known for their trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovoâ€™s membership in NATO and the European Union.
Nota bene: In 1992 the Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs reached agreement in Lisbon for a unified state. The continuation of a peaceful multi-ethnic Bosnia seemed assured. But the United States sabotaged the agreement. [New York Times, June 17, 1993, buried at the very end of the article on an inside page].
That New Yorker article: the usual any-evidence-is-sufficient for a designated-bad-guy crime, but no-evidence-is-sufficient for a designated-good-guy crime.
The New Yorker is Zionist(its all their territory) territory.Why would you believe their take?
The MSM painted the Serbs with the brush of evil.
Divide and conquer,their prime agenda.
Yeah, I am sure Pravda and RT are better sources of information than New Yorker. Looks like a lot of Serb propaganda trolls are getting their news there. Confirmation bias.
Yes, that New Yorker article, with its tearful Hashim Thaci (“the Snake”) not sure how he can look his 11-year-old son in the face with all the allegations. What baloney!
That’s the guy who murdered his Albanian roommate with a screwdriver to the face, for mild criticism of the KLA.
Kosovo organ theft is still under investigation:
Nicholas Schmidle’s 2013 New Yorker “Bring Up the Bodies” article merely mentions a single incident of organ transplantation (the recipient was an Israeli). Notwithstanding the dismissive tone of Schmidle’s piece on war crimes in Kosovo, by no means does he prove the absence of a larger organ theft operation.
Schmidle’s journalism has been called into question. The secrecy around his 2011 New Yorker “Getting Bin Laden” article raised debate about sourcing, accuracy, and Schmidle’s connections to the military. Of particular concern is the fact that his father is Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr., the deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command.
NATO’s Illegal War Against Serbia / Lies About Kosovo War
The Continuing Legacy of Depleted Uranium Poisoning in Yugoslavia
Clinton and his band of Criminals need to be indicted for War crimes but lets not forget Blair and his cabal as well as the German chancellor and the Croatians who supplied guns and who protects the criminal Rahim Ademi.. Good article but the Author forgets to mention that USA took Kosovo for itself in order to implement The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) that is why they built one of the largest military bases on stolen land outside of US proper..American hypocrisy on Crimea is beyond comprehension
Yeah,where’s our “Judgement at Washington”?
The true motivation for western support for the breakaway of Kosovo from Serbia can be seen in Camp Bondsteel, the US Army base in Kosovo, which can hold up to 7,000 soldiers:
“Kosovoâ€™s â€œMafia Stateâ€ and Camp Bondsteel: Towards a Permanent US Military Presence in Southeast Europe”
By F. William Engdahl
12 April 2012
“Since June 1999 when the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR) occupied Kosovo, then an integral part of then-Yugoslavia, Kosovo was technically under a United Nations mandate, UN Security Council Resolution 1244. … Under 1244 Kosovo would remain part of Serbia pending a peaceful resolution of its status. That UN Resolution was blatantly ignored by the US, German and other EU parties in 2008.
Germanyâ€™s and Washingtonâ€™s prompt recognition of Kosovoâ€™s independence in February 2008, significantly, came days after elections for President in Serbia confirmed pro-Washington Boris Tadic had won a second four year term. With Tadicâ€™s post secured, Washington could count on a compliant Serbian reaction to its support for Kosovo.
Immediately after the bombing of Serbia in 1999 the Pentagon seized a 1000 acre large parcel of land in Kosovo at Uresevic near the border to Macedonia, and awarded a contract to Halliburton when Dick Cheney was CEO there, to build one of the largest US overseas military bases in the world
A February 22, 2005 German BND report, labeled Top Secret, which has since been leaked, stated … â€œThrough the key playersâ€”for example Thaci, Haliti, Haradinajâ€”there is the closest interlink between politics, the economy and international organized crime in Kosovo. The criminal organizations in the background there foster political instability. They have no interest at all in the building of a functioning orderly state that could be detrimental to their booming business.â€
The question then becomes, why are Washington, NATO, the EU and inclusive and importantly, the German Government, so eager to legitimize the breakaway Kosovo? A Kosovo run internally by organized criminal networks is easy for NATO to control. It insures a weak state which is far easier to bring under NATO domination.”
Madeline (special place in Hell) Albright who said the death of 500,000 children in Iraq was worth it.
Yes and the fixer at Racak William Walker who masterminded Central American killings need to be in front of the tribunal. What a criminal state protected by lies.
A masterful recapitulation of a sordid chapter in American history. A history stained with the bloody hands of cagey opportunists like the Clintons and the war-lover, Madeline Albright.
If elected President, does Bernie Sanders plan to implement the “Kosovo Strategy” in Syria?
Will Syria â€œFeel the Berneâ€ when a President Sanders, as Commander in Chief, delivers his â€œassessmentâ€ and â€œsadlyâ€ supports â€œthe NATO bombing of military targetsâ€ in Syria, the way he supported the bombing of Yugoslavia?
The 1999 NATO bombing of Kosovo killed between 489 and 528 civilians.
Sanders’ hawkish support for the bombing caused one of his staffers to resign in protest. The full letter of resignation appears below:
May 4, 1999
Congressman Bernie Sanders
2202 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC, 20515
This letter explains the matters of conscience that have led me to resign from your staff.
I believe that every individual must have some limit to what acts of military violence they are willing to participate in or support, regardless of either personal welfare or claims that it will lead to a greater good. Any individual who does not possess such a limit is vulnerable to committing or condoning abhorrent acts without even stopping to think about it.
Those who accept the necessity for such a limit do not necessarily agree regarding where it should be drawn. For absolute pacifists, war can never be justified. But even for non-pacifists, the criteria for supporting the use of military violence must be extremely stringent because the consequences are so great. Common sense dictates at least the following as minimal criteria:
The evil to be remedied must be serious.
The genuine purpose of the action must be to avert the evil, not to achieve some other purpose for which the evil serves as a pretext.
Less violent alternatives must be unavailable.
The violence used must have a high probability of in fact halting the evil.
The violence used must be minimized.
Let us evaluate current U.S. military action in Yugoslavia against each of these tests. Evil to be remedied:
We can agree that the evil to be remedied in this case — specifically, the uprooting and massacre of the Kosovo Albanians — is serious enough to justify military violence if such violence can ever be justified. However, the U.S. air war against Yugoslavia fails an ethical test on each of the other four criteria.
Purpose vs. pretext: The facts are incompatible with the hypothesis that U.S. policy is motivated by humanitarian concern for the people of Kosovo:
In the Dayton agreement, the U.S. gave Milosevic a free hand in Kosovo in exchange for a settlement in Bosnia.
The U.S. has consistently opposed sending ground forces into Kosovo, even as the destruction of the Kosovar people escalated. (While I do not personally support such an action, it would, in sharp contrast to current U.S. policy, provide at least some likelihood of halting the attacks on the Kosovo Albanians.)
According to the New York Times (4/18/99), the U.S. began bombing Yugoslavia with no consideration for the possible impact on the Albanian people of Kosovo. This was not for want of warning. On March 5, 1999, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema met with President Clinton in the Oval Office and warned him that an air attack which failed to subdue Milosevic would result in 300,000 to 400,000 refugees passing into Albania and then to Italy. Nonetheless, “No one planned for the tactic of population expulsion that has been the currency of Balkan wars for more than a century.” (The New York Times, 4/18/99). If the goal of U.S. policy was humanitarian, surely planning for the welfare of these refugees would have been at least a modest concern.
Even now the attention paid to humanitarian aid to the Kosovo refugees is totally inadequate, and is trivial compared to the billions being spent to bomb Yugoslavia. According to the Washington Post (4/30/99), the spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency in Macedonia says, “We are on the brink of catastrophe.” Surely a genuine humanitarian concern for the Kosovars would be evidenced in massive emergency airlifts and a few billion dollars right now devoted to aiding the refugees.
While it has refused to send ground forces into Kosovo, the U.S. has also opposed and continues to oppose all alternatives that would provide immediate protection for the people of Kosovo by putting non-or partially-NATO forces into Kosovo. Such proposals have been made by Russia, by Milosevic himself, and by the delegations of the U.S. Congress and the Russian Duma who met recently with yourself as a participant. The refusal of the U.S. to endorse such proposals strongly supports the hypothesis that the goal of U.S. policy is not to save the Kosovars from ongoing destruction.
Less violent alternatives: On 4/27/99 I presented you with a memo laying out an alternative approach to current Administration policy. It stated, “The overriding objective of U.S. policy in Kosovo — and of people of good will — must be to halt the destruction of the Albanian people of Kosovo. . . The immediate goal of U.S. policy should be a ceasefire which halts Serb attacks on Kosovo Albanians in exchange for a halt in NATO bombing.” It stated that to achieve this objective, the United States should “propose an immediate ceasefire, to continue as long as Serb attacks on Kosovo Albanians cease. . . Initiate an immediate bombing pause. . . Convene the U.N. Security Council to propose action under U.N. auspices to extend and maintain the ceasefire. . . Assemble a peacekeeping force under U.N. authority to protect safe havens for those threatened with ethnic cleansing.” On 5/3/99 you endorsed a very similar peace plan proposed by delegations from the US Congress and the Russian Duma. You stated that “The goal now is to move as quickly as possible toward a ceasefire and toward negotiations.” In short, there is a less violent alternative to the present U.S. air war against Yugoslavia.
High probability of halting the evil: Current U.S. policy has virtually no probability of halting the displacement and killing of the Kosovo Albanians. As William Safire put it, “The war to make Kosovo safe for Kosovars is a war without an entrance strategy. By its unwillingness to enter Serbian territory to stop the killing at the start, NATO conceded defeat. The bombing is simply intended to coerce the Serbian leader to give up at the negotiating table all he has won on the killing field. He won’t.” (the New York Times, 5/3/99) The massive bombing of Yugoslavia is not a means of protecting the Kosovars but an alternative to doing so.
Minimizing the consequences of violence. “Collateral damage” is inevitable in bombing attacks on military targets. It must be weighed in any moral evaluation of bombing. But in this case we are seeing not just collateral damage but the deliberate selection of civilian targets, including residential neighborhoods, auto factories, broadcasting stations, and hydro-electric power plants. The New York Times characterized the latter as “The attack on what clearly appeared to be a civilian target.” (5/3/99) If these are acceptable targets, are there any targets that are unacceptable?
The House Resolution (S Con Res 21) of 4/29/99 which “authorizes the president of the United States to conduct military air operations and missile strikes in cooperation with the United States’ NATO allies against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia” supports not only the current air war but also its unlimited escalation. It thereby authorizes the commission of war crimes, even of genocide. Indeed, the very day after that vote, the Pentagon announced that it would begin “area bombing,” which the Washington Post (4/30/99) characterized as “dropping unguided weapons from B-52 bombers in an imprecise technique that resulted in large-scale civilian casualties in World War II and the Vietnam War.”
It was your vote in support of this resolution that precipitated my decision that my conscience required me to resign from your staff. I have tried to ask myself questions that I believe each of us must ask ourselves:
Is there a moral limit to the military violence you are willing to participate in or support? Where does that limit lie? And when that limit has been reached, what action will you take?
My answers led to my resignation.
evidence of genocide against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians has not materialized. The number of ethnic Albanians who died or went missing is anywhere from 90 percent to 99 percent lower than the estimates we were given during the war.
Although the Serbs were accused of genocide, and the Albanians were said to be their victims, a Serb was three times more likely to be killed or abducted than an Albanian, and Serbs made-up a disproportionately large share of the Kosovo war’s refugees. Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians comprise an even larger share of the population today than they did before the war, which adds up to one simple fact: “They weren’t victims of genocide”. Kosovo was a war over territory that pitted ethnic Albanian secessionists in the Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA, against Serbian security forces.
To elicit Western sympathy and win NATO intervention against the Serbs, the KLA sought to portray the war as an aggressive Serbian genocide against Kosovo’s Albanians â€“ the strategy worked. The shocking images of civilians driven from their homes and streaming out of Kosovo are indelibly burned into our memories. Eve-Ann Prentice, a British journalist who covered the Kosovo war for the Guardian and the London Times, testified during Slobodan Milosevic’s trial in the Hague. She said that rather than being driven out by the Serbs, “The KLA told ethnic Albanian civilians that it was their patriotic duty to leave because the world was watching. This was their one big opportunity to make Kosovo part of Albania eventually, that NATO was there, ready to come in, and that anybody who failed to join the exodus was not supporting the Albanian cause.”
Alice Mahon, a British MP and a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels, also testified during Milosevic’s trial. She said, ” The KLA definitely encouraged the exodus.” Muharem Ibraj and Saban Fazliu, two ethnic Albanian witnesses from Kosovo who testified in Milosevic’s trial, said Serbian security forces encouraged civilians to remain in their homes, and that it was the KLA who made the civilian population leave the province. Fazliu testified that the KLA would KILL anybody who disobeyed its orders. He said, “The order was to leave Kosovo in later stages, to go to Albania, Macedonia, so that the WORLD could see for themselves that the Albanians are leaving because of the harm caused by the Serbs. This was the aim. This was the KLA order.”
During the war, the London Times reported how “KLA ‘minders’ ensured that all refugees peddled the same line when speaking to Western journalists” by threatening the refugee’s loved ones. Unfortunately, that report was one of the few honest pieces of journalism to come out of Kosovo. Testifying in the Milosevic trial about the coverage he had seen in the Western news media, Dietmar Hartwig, the chief of the European Union’s Monitoring Mission in Kosovo said, “I didn’t think it had anything to do with reality. [The] reporting was always very one-sided.” In addition to biased coverage of the Kosovo war, our news media may have deliberately misled public opinion by staging fake news footage designed to make the plight of the refugees look worse than it actually was.
Rewarding terrorism, deception in Kosovo
By Andy Wilcoxson
The Zionists do not like Slavs,especially in dependent ones.Hence the destruction of Serbia,as the MSM portrayed the Serbs as the bad guys,totally,or almost. totally.
For a country that has a sordid history of genocide, slavery, murder, inequality and killing to then go and declare that they have the moral authority to be the worlds cop is ludicrous.
The world’s Godfather is closer to the truth.